Okay. I'm going to tell it like it is, because this debate clearly isn't going to be won in an ivory intellectual tower. I'm officially, now,
taking it to the concrete ....
This debate all comes down to the definition of democracy (many debates do come down to definitions). This debate is about one thing, not two, so we
we have to agree on a common definition of democracy.
Defining democracy is a dangerous thing to do because dirty things can sneak in, like pre-1971 Switzerland, which didn't allow women to vote. On the
other hand, as we restrict the term "democracy", we find that fewer and fewer countries remain. So by what metric are we to define democracy?
Well, honestly, we need a definition that stays true to its ideal while not defining to much. So let's look at where the word democracy came from and
what it means:
Democracy = Demos Kratein
It comes from the Greek words "demos"
, which means the People, and "kratein"
, which means to Rule. Put these two words together and
you get something like: "Rule of the People". A little elaboration gives you the oft-quoted "for the people, by the people." This is direct
How do we get a modern definition? Well, we know we want something that involves people, and them voting for what they want (<-- this is a system of
representation, btw). The other ideals, like freedom of speech, are protected in things like the Bill of Rights or the Constitution, and not by
Don't get me wrong, a Bill of Rights is a great thing and most democracies wouldn't be worth much without it, but they don't make up the essence of
"democracy". Ancient Athens was said to be a democracy but only a white minority could vote and I'm pretty sure no one had free speech. Clearly,
human rights + democracy
democracy; it equals something else (most likely, human rights
Okay so I've just told you what modern democracy was NOT (or didn't include). Let's look a little bit harder and use some commonsense along the
People are really important. Democracy is all about people, not aristocrats or kings and queens.
Nations have gotten so big that direct democracy can't be practiced. So we need representatives in order to directly exercise the will of the People.
Remember that the People are the most important part of this process (after all they implemented this thing to represent them).
So the only the People should elect representatives. Not the King, not an official appointing his energy cronies for some "independent" review
board. It's the people that elect representatives for all things. Of course these elections would be free. Otherwise only the rich could vote and we
know where that would lead us ...
If you distill the above you get the following definition:
- The People should elect their representatives
- Elections need to be free
- The Elect represent the will and (supreme) power of the People
- Democracies serve the People. In a literary sense, the People stand upon democracy. Democracy does not stand on the People, so to speak.
Hold these points up to a mirror. What do you see shining back at you? The modern definition of democracy ("for the people, by the people"), looking
exactly like the one found in Webster's Third International Dictionary. (see my opening entry for a clarification)
Now you can argue with my points, but I think you'll find that the People are the important thing and that the People, only, should elect their
And even from these two points I can expose the false democracies to the world.
For the U.S. :
Democracy implies the consent of the governed. Sure people consent to be rich, but who consents to being poor? The majority aren't rich, no doubt.
The Constitution says nothing about democracy. That's because it had nothing to do with it. It says that every state has to have a republican
government. You can't vote otherwise. Representatives can appoint delegates which are not directly elected by the people. That's a major illegal
violation of democracy.
For most of Europe:
Europe kowtows to the EU. I haven't researched exactly how the EU interfaces with each nations' government, but I'm pretty sure the result isn't
to democratic. I suspect things like veto powers and the like. Each individual country has failings. Look at Switzerland, for example. Every two years
the ruling political alternates! The People have no say on what party they want. It's like a magic autocratic wanna-be democratic government!
I could go on but this is getting kinda long and I've made my point. Put any nation of this world under my nose and I can tell you what I smell: It
ain't Demos Kratein